On Saturday Auckland Transport release a discussion document that could have huge long term implications for Auckland. It is about how parking will be managed across the region and you can read it here (2.26MB). This is an all-encompassing parking document and covers both on and off street parking from the CBD all the way down to suburban streets and park and ride. Parking seems to be one area that seems to get many people wound up to biblical proportions and so I suspect this is a document that could get a lot of feedback. Here’s the executive summary.
The supply, management and pricing of parking directly impacts on the achievement of transport and land use outcomes. Good parking management is vital for the safe and efficient operation of the road network, supporting the economic development of Auckland’s City Centre, town and business centres as well as increased public transport use. The projected growth in population, employment and economic activity in Auckland will increase competing demands on the road network, including parking.
This Discussion Document outlines the key issues relating to parking in Auckland and seeks feedback on the suggested approaches to address them. It takes into consideration current and emerging problems and trends influencing the provision and management of: on-street and off-street parking in Auckland’s City Centre and other business centres; parking on arterial, local roads and residential streets; and park and ride facilities to support public transport and meet demand.
The approaches suggested in this document are intended to provide the overarching framework to guide customised responses to parking supply and management that reflect local characteristics. Feedback on the Discussion Document will assist the development of a Parking Strategy, which will be included in the next Integrated Transport Programme, due for completion in mid-2015.
The key issues identified in relation to parking across Auckland have been grouped into the following areas:
- Managing demand for parking in the City Centre, metropolitan and town centres
- Competing demands for parking in residential streets
- Managing off-street parking facilities
- Inconsistent on-street parking restrictions across Auckland
- The conflict between parking on arterial roads and improving public transport provision
- Managing the demand for parking permits amongst competing users
- Addressing the shortage of park and ride facilities to support public transport patronage.
Existing parking policies reflect the objectives from legacy councils and the Auckland Regional Council and require rationalisation and reassessment. A proposed parking strategy for Auckland is necessary to reflect the intent and outcomes of the Auckland Plan, proposed Unitary Plan and the Regional Public Transport Plan and to provide an integrated approach.
Having a quick read through the document there is a lot to be positive about sprinkled all through it which shows that AT have actually been putting some serious thought into the document. There’s also a lot of really valuable information on where things are and where their heading. Starting off AT have a section dedicated to looking at the trends in each of the key areas they’ve identified.
Including on street and off street spaces there are a massive 51,800 carparks in the city centre. Of those 8,400 are managed by AT with 3,500 on street carparks and 4,900 are off street (of which 73% are long stay parks e.g. leases and earlybird parking). The breakdown of all parking supply is below and across the entire market around 71% are long stay parks.
What’s perhaps more interesting is the modelling that has been done on the number of trips to the city centre by mode (car or PT). AT say in the text that car trips will remain fairly consistent with 2011 levels however the numbers actually show a fairly substantial drop during both the peak and interpeak times.
What is perhaps most interesting about these figures is how they differ from the CCFAS study. I understand that the modelling has been updated and at a quick glance it seems to have resulted in less car trips and more PT trips to the city centre.
Going a little further into the parking document it is quite surprising to see that AT are actually confirming that they are the cheapest parking operator in town and that earlybird parking simply encourages people to drive during the peak. They even hint at changing this.
AT is currently charging less than commercial operators for long stay parking – $13 early bird versus $14 on average. Early bird parking encourages commuter trips and generally applies prior to 8:30am in AT car parks and 9:30am in commercial operated car parks. AT can influence a shift commuter demand away from the morning peak by reducing the amount of long stay parking, increasing prices to achieve parity with commercial operators, changing the conditions for early bird parking and moving toward more short stay parking.
AT have also done similar modelling to the city centre for the Metropolitan centres and Town centres identified in the Auckland Plan. The results are grouped together for all centres but in a key difference to the city centre, it shows vehicle trips increasing. PT increases too and with larger percentages however patronage is coming off a much lower base.
AT have even come up with a set of priorities for what parking space in town centres should be used for
Perhaps one criticism of the document is that more could have been done to highlight that PT users, walkers and cyclists all shop too and that evidence locally and internationally shows that the impact of parking provision is over frequently overestimated by retailers.
Outside of the centres AT want to look at a number of options. In the City Fringe they want to look at how best to manage parking. They say residents parking schemes have been successful but can also reduce the availability of spaces for other uses resulting in less efficient use of parking spaces. In the suburbs around centres they also say that parking management of some form – most likely time limits – maybe be required.
One area of the document that is bound to get push back is the section about parking on arterials. In it AT are now saying that more road space should be used for buses and cyclists
- Where the arterial is also a FTN route and when that route meets the FTN service levels, prohibit all on-street parking and loading and consider providing replacement parking and loading at convenient locations for local businesses adjacent to the arterial road. The timing and detail will be determined on a case by case review of each arterial road corridor.
- Where parking is located along the regional cycle network and when there are proven safety issues or there is a current or projected high cycle use, prohibit all on street parking and consider providing replacement parking at convenient locations for local businesses adjacent to the arterial road. The timing and detail will be determined on a case by case review of each arterial corridor.
The last major area is Park and Ride and it’s the category I think AT are perhaps the weakest on. AT say that there are currently 5,300 formal P&R carparks scattered all around the region however they want to add up to another 10,000 based on what some other cities have. Not included in the document but AT have said elsewhere that they expect the additional 10k carparks to deliver 7 million extra trips per year. To me that figure seems overly optimistic as assuming each space generated two trips per day they would all have to be used almost every day of the year which just doesn’t seem practical.
The map below shows where some of those 10,000 extra carparks might go. Some of these like Avondale and Mt Albert seem way to close to the city centre to me, especially post CRL.
One small positive is AT is now talking about the possibility of charging for park and ride.
Overall this draft seems like a huge step in the right direction so well done AT. First an outstanding Regional Public Transport Plan now a fairly good parking strategy, next you’ll be telling us you’ve got a new version of the ITP focused around the CFN.
What will be critical is how well it is holds up after the discussion period so it’s vital that people support some of the key themes, especially the use of carparks for more valuable purposes like PT provision and cycling facilities. Consultation starts on Saturday.